It’s hard to imagine the time when this whole valley was filled with a river of ice, but Lake Wanaka is a glacier lake, like Lake George in the Adirondacks.
Now it’s a tourist town, and it was our destination last weekend.
Friends. That’s a main ingredient of a good weekend, and Naomi’s best buddy Stella came with her parents and baby sister. Wanaka is about a 5 hour drive from Christchurch, so we opted to take the trip down in two stages, with the first night spent at Twizel. I’m wasn’t really sure why the town of Twizel exists, plunked as it is in the barren tussock lands of the MacKenzie Country, until I happened to check its spelling on Google and Wikipedia mentioned that it was founded in 1968 to house workers who were building the big hydroelectric schemes that take advantage of all those former-glacier lakes. Now on weekends it houses sport fishermen keen to catch big salmon and trout in the hydro canals.
Twizel does have a town square of sorts, with a playground and a public toilet surrounded by shops. Hurray for kid-friendly NZ, where even the small towns have good playgrounds.
The next day was February 3rd, Milo’s birthday (6!). We got to the holiday house about 3 p.m. This one would definitely NOT be classed as a bach. It was pretty upscale, thanks to prior planning by a well organized member of our group (not me!). Carrie and Ben (Stella’s parents) were avid rock climbers before the advent of children (sigh), and they still have all their gear and much of their enthusiasm, so we make a quick pizza for the kids and headed out to the rocks. Milo gave it a good go, and was sure proud to dust his fingers with the chalk like the pros.
Not many rock faces have grassy valleys at their bases, but the kids took full advantage of this one.
A couple days later we tried some rocks that didn’t have the run-around space at the bottom. The answer to that puzzle was popcorn, and lots of it.
Naomi was happy to give the climbing thing a try too.
Wow, that’s a lucky six-year-old.
Aunt Rebecca started a trend when she suggested to Naomi that she might like a pink elephant cake for her third birthday. Milo wanted an elephant cake too. Thankfully they’re satisfied with a round cake with a frosting-elephant painted onto it. Next time, Bec, you might suggest something simpler. A hockey puck perhaps?
I got out on a hike one morning with the girls and Mark (who was happy to remain behind the camera). Roy Peak is about as accessible as they come with views that entice scores of people, and we joined the throng. It was a bit of a test for my back, climbing with a day pack. I’m please to report that it passed.
Wanaka has lots of good biking trails too
Milo got the hang of his hand breaks on his new bike after a couple days, and shifting gears mid-pedal won’t be far behind. Right how he thinks the highest gear is the best because you can go the fastest on it….though he has discovered that it’s not the best for climbing hills.
It was wonderfully warm while we were in Wanaka, warm enough to put toes and even knees into the frigid water.
“Why is that tree growing in the lake?” I don’t know. I really don’t know. But it’s famous, and now we, too, have a Wanaka Tree picture.
Flash house, eh? Body wash foamed up nicely in the Jacuzzi.
Charlotte, Stella and Naomi. A TROUP of happy little girls, washed and ready for bed.
And ah, it was GOOD to be able to hike again.